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Vocation News

Sisters Peggy and Mary Ann have sent to Congregation of Notre Dame Sisters in High School Ministry an invitation to offer their Religion or American History teachers and their students a DVD for viewing. Produced by the LCWR on the history of Women Religious in the United States, it is very well done, narrated by Cokie Roberts of NPR fame. IT would make good viewing for adults in the year of Consecrated Life…. and at no extra cost, Peggy and Mary Ann would come and lead a discussion!!! Book now for WOMEN AND SPIRIT: CATHOLIC SISTERS IN AMERICA BY CALLING!

VIGIL FOR LIMA in the Wilton Chapel

On December 7, we had a wonderful vigil in the Wilton Chapel. In addition to the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame and School Sisters of Notre Dame, we invited all the Catholic Communities in Norwalk and Wilton.

We also extended an invitation to 5 area Protestant Churches...

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St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Church

A new name, a new altar and a new statue helped usher in a new beginning for Sydney area Catholics on Sunday October 19, 2014 at the 10:00 am Eucharistic Celebration.

Diocese of Antigonish Bishop, Brian Dunn, presided at Sunday mass at St. Joseph’s Church where he officially changed its name to St. Marguerite Bourgeoys Church. The name change reflects the coming together of four churches.

Pastor Fr. Bill Burke said the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre Dame generously donated a large statue of Marguerite Bourgeoys that now stands outside the church, mounted on a large stone...

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Miramichi Visit

Miramichi Associates invited Marjorie to attend their October 8 Meeting. Geraldine Gordon gave an informative Reflection on the book, Marguerite Bourgeoys and Montreal 1640-1665. I experienced the warm hospitality and “Visitation” of the Miramichi Associates.

The quilted hanging of the “Visitation” seen in the photo was made by Geraldine Gorden and it is present for their meetings. 

Diocese of Charlottetown: Opening of year of Consecrated Life

On November 30, the Diocese of Charlottetown officially opened the year of Consecrated Life with a solemn sung vesper service at St. Dunstan's Basilica led by Bishop Richard Grecco.

Following the vesper service, Sister Donna Egan shared a reflection on her vocation and on the charism of the Congregation of Notre Dame. The service closed with the singing of the official hymn: "Wake up the world".

The evening had been organized by a diocesan committee who are planning other celebrations during the year.

Photo by Sue Kidd, CND

Associates News - Blessed Sacrament Province (USA)

FIRST ASSEMBLY OF ASSOCIATES, Blessed Sacrament Province, April 17-19, 2015, Wilton, CT: The Associate Relationship, Past, Present and Future: Keynote: Sr. Patricia Simpson, CND, Marguerite Bourgeoys: Origins of the Associate Relationship. The registration forms will be mailed in late January, but please start making your plans to attend now.

MISSIONING TO PRAY FOR ASSOCIATE COMMUNITIES: A number of retired Sisters and Associates have been asked to pray for and have a special relationship with a particular Associate community. Associate Joan Pesce gave invaluable service in contacting all involved. If any other Sister or Associate is interested in being a prayer partner for an Associate Community, please contact Sr. Joan at cndassociatesusa@msn.com

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Blog-post by Sister Julia Walsh, FSPA on vocational discernment

If you click on the link below, you can read a recent blog-post by Sister Julia Walsh, a newer member of the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration (FSPA). She has been with the community for 8 years and now is discerning making final vows.  (For further reading, MessyJesusBusiness.com takes you to her blogging site.) Sister Julia, a high school religion teacher, has been writing about her discernment for several years. These reflections open the reader to an experience of the blessings/challenges of religious life for today’s newer members. The link is: www.globalsistersreport.org/trends/my-journey-my-family-grandmas-1489

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Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW)

New York, December 1, 2014 - The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) applauds the legislatures of Canada and Ireland for their historic passage of laws that respectively target the demand for prostitution or buyers of sex, and decriminalize prostituted individuals. They follow in the footsteps of Sweden, Norway and Iceland, which passed a set of laws, known as the "Nordic Model,” that penalizes the purchase of sex, exempts prostituted individuals from punishment and recognizes prostitution as a cause and consequence of gender violence and discrimination.

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Mabou Retreat

On a beautiful Fall morning on October 18th Sisters and Associates travelled from Antigonish, Sydney Mines, Sydney, Lingan and New Victoria for the Annual Associate Retreat in Mabou with Sister Della Gaudet, CND. The welcome mat was out for our arrival as Associate Peg Madigan opened our day with the warmth of her own heart reaching out to Sister Della and to each of us.

Our Mission & Vision Statement states that “In a spirit of openness and mutuality with the sisters, we share the charism of Marguerite Bourgeoys and the mission of the Congregation of Notre Dame ~ together, we lived those words to the full to-day. It was truly a blessing to witness the love, respect and admiration that was present in our gathering for our Foundress.

Sister Della gave us “new glimpses” of Saint Marguerite that began in Marguerite’s hometown where she lived for over 7 years; she really has walked in the “footsteps” of Marguerite. I was not blessed to have visited Troyes but today I feel I was there and in many beautiful ways, in the company of Marguerite.

As we gathered the “graces” of the day I feel that I express the sentiments of each and every participant when I say that we were nourished to the brim by Sister Della.

Advent Twilight Reflection

On Wednesday, December 3, the Montreal CNDs and associates met at the deSève residence to a twilight reflection. Two visitors joined us, inquiring about associate relationship. Sister Joan Foliot led us in the theme of the Journey to Mount Zion. Following a well-researched presentation, we were invited to spend 30-minutes in silent prayer considering several questions relating to the mountain experience and the extended hand of God. During a second section, we considered Trust and Light. In the finale the lights were extinguished and one central candle was lit representing the Pascal candle; and each participant lit a small light as we contemplated our call to light the world. On the suggestion of Gloria Schneike, associate, all were invited to contribute food for the poor, a gesture to symbolize our solidarity with those in need. During this Advent season, we were privileged to have access to an intimate evening of prayer and sharing prepared and presented so lovingly by Sister Joan. Many thanks! 


Human rights 365

Every year, on December 10, Human Rights Day is observed to mark the date on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

“This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.”


Book Review

Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads (Loyola Press, 2013, 155 pages).



So many books out there about Pope Francis! How to choose? One of my happy selections is this book by Chris Lowney, Managing Director with JP Morgan and Co., author, and one-time Jesuit seminarian. This is not the usual kind of biography; it is more like a case study about leadership – understanding a mission and being an example of how to live it; giving invitation and example, not orders. Interviews with people who have journeyed with Pope Francis describe his leadership qualities and skills; workable ideas that can be appreciated and practiced by pastors, parents, principals and prelates, and by any of us who exercise leadership in any capacity. The book’s author believes this book is for all of us. It gets us thinking about why we are so often disappointed in leaders, and how we might imagine (articulate, even) inspiring new ways to be leaders and affirm leaders. 

Standing Up Against Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking is a violation of human rights and a serious crime. The BC Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking defines trafficking as “the recruiting, harbouring and/or controlling of a person for the purpose of exploitation.” The exploitation of a trafficked person can take many forms including sexual exploitation, forced labour and coerced organ removal.


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• PEACE & JUSTICE NEWS - Blessed Sacrament Provicne (USA)

On December 7, Sisters from the Congregation of Notre Dame and the School Sisters of Notre Dame hosted a Vigil Prayer as a part of the follow-up to the Climate March. This VigilforLima, explained in an earlier intranet posting, was an important step in our carrying out our primary Justice Goal for the year 2014-15. It provided a concrete expression of our desire to be in solidarity with all around the globe who are committed to reverse climate change. I want to invite you to a few other steps. Many of the sisters have received your copy of Climate Change: Our Call to Conversion. I wanted you to have it available for Advent Prayer. The booklet’s use is self-explanatory. I am working with Sr. Joan to plan a good way to get them out to Associates. The booklets are a wonderful call to prayer and reflection. Believing we should walk on two feet in our journey of responsible care for Creation, I am including a few of the practical steps I gleaned from participating in Greenfaith’s Energy Webinars and some individual steps suggested by www.ourvoices.net. All are both practical and doable choices for individual action.

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"We Are Listening." Bridgeport Diocesan Synod

"This is a singular opportunity for us, as a diocese, to ask very deep, honest, and probing questions, so that we can transform the challenges we face into opportunities for growth and renewal. But perhaps most importantly, this is a graced time for you and me to accept the invitation of the Lord, in a very personal way, to grow in faith and holiness," said Bishop Frank Caggiano.

With that, Bishop Caggiano opened the second session of the Synod of the Diocese of Bridgeport (CT) November 15th. The atmosphere among the participants is very congenial; each seems genuinely pleased to be part of this effort. Bishop Frank Caggiano (cf. 11/10 America magazine editorial) also shared that 5 bishops at the recent USCCB meeting approached him about the synod and want to know more; we are sowing seeds…

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Woodstock Associate Retreat, Skiff Lake, September 27

The theme for our day was “Journeying – Our Footsteps Through Life” and our facilitator was Eleanor McCloskey, CND from Fredericton.

Using some Scripture passages, we looked at some of the steps Jesus took to teach people different ways of looking at things, different ways of getting to know God. We shared some of the steps we see Pope Francis taking, not just “in Church,” but in front of the whole world, to teach mercy and compassion and a nonjudgmental way of relating to one another. Some examples were shared of activists, movers and shakers we have heard of, that take costly steps to try to effect change. Then we prayed quietly for some time, reflecting on our own journey and the steps we are called upon to take. To help us “get into it,” we chose shoes from a display of cards prepared with varieties of shoes – athletic shoes, work boots, sandals, sturdy shoes, dressy shoes, winter boots, and weird imaginative creations!

The sharing from our “journey” outside, reflecting in the warm sunshine of a beautiful autumn Saturday, was rich and rewarding to all. Our day concluded with considering Resisting… Accepting... Embracing Change in our journey. 

“Does my image of God allow God to lead me into new pathways?” was the question we took home. 


Sainte Marguerite Bourgeoys, Teacher

In 1640, Marguerite, then 20 years old, decided to “give (herself) to the service of God.” She requested admission to the extern congregation run by the Canonesses of Saint Augustine (whose monastery was situated in Troyes where la Gendarmerie stands today). The nuns had established a number of “little schools” in the poorer areas of the city. They trained the congréganistes as teachers. Marguerite received lessons in pedagogy and committed herself to education.

In these “little schools,” young girls were formed as Christians and taught catechism, reading, writing, counting and sewing.

Sister Louise de Ste-Marie, directress of the extern congregation, was the sister of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, founder of Ville-Marie (Montreal, Canada). When he came to Troyes in 1652, Sister Louise reminded her brother of the sisters’ desire to participate in the mission in New France. Monsieur de Maisonneuve explained that it was still impossible to establish a monastery of cloistered sisters in Ville-Marie. He stated that the colony needed secular teachers.

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A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step...

The Spirituality committee, having had two conference calls, was delighted to gather for the first time on November 20-22, 2014, at Seton Spirituality Center, Terence Bay, NS. Sister Evelyn Williams, SC, gifted us with her engaging facilitation. We were reminded that in this work of ours we are called and we are “on a mission” with the entire Province. So let’s go together!

In preparation for this meeting, we first asked a number of sisters to respond to the following question:

What is happening to further enhance your spirituality where you live?

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CATW applauds Canada and Ireland for their historic passage of laws

New York, December 1, 2014 - The Coalition Against Trafficking in Women (CATW) applauds the legislatures of Canada and Ireland for their historic passage of laws that respectively target the demand for prostitution or buyers of sex, and decriminalize prostituted individuals. They follow in the footsteps of Sweden, Norway and Iceland, which passed a set of laws, known as the "Nordic Model,” that penalizes the purchase of sex, exempts prostituted individuals from punishment and recognizes prostitution as a cause and consequence of gender violence and discrimination.

The Second Week in Advent or Managing Expectations

In the reading from Isaiah, Israel hungrily awaits a Messiah. In words of comfort and tenderness, the great prophet tells Jerusalem that in spite of “her sins,” or maybe even because of them, God is coming in glory and will rule with power and a “strong arm,” with reward and recompense. The valleys will be filled, the mountains made low, the rough terrain made plain and he will care for his people. And tell your friends!

Certainly, in the historical context, Israel was looking for muscle, and not necessarily a Prince of Peace. So the fact that a strong and powerful God was coming to move mountains and to make the playing field even was not just good news, but great news; but, as it turns out, not the best way to manage expectations. It is no wonder that it was difficult for Jews to believe that a carpenter’s son from Nazareth, with a message of peace and love, was the tremendous ground force that was foretold by the prophet Isaiah.

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